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Thank you, Walk Leaders! The volunteer walk leaders make these fungal forays possible. We all thank you!

Schedule of Walks: Walks will be held at 10:30 AM, on Sundays (mostly). Exceptions will be noted below.

Walks and ID Meetings. At the walks participants collect, and then sort out their collections for identification at the site. “Informal” ID sessions will be held at the walk.

PLEASE NOTE: “official” ID sessions at Harvard University Herbaria, 22 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA which have been traditionally held on Monday nights will not take place this year due to COVID issues.

This is the timeline for a mushroom walk:

  • Walk time – gathering, introductions, site information, send off.
  • 2 hours later – Meet back and organize collections, with an informal table talk.
  • Don’t walk alone. Travel in small groups to avoid getting lost and use a GPS app to track your route.
  • There will be a half hour break at the end of the walk to allow the ID people to organize the table. Members are invited to bring a lunch for the break period.
  • Most walks will not have a “formal” ID session; we will use ID books and keys in a workshop session to hone our ID skills.

Come for the whole thing, just the walk, or just the identification!

Advice: Directions are given from major highways (All the exit numbers in MA have recently changed but the signs still list the “old” Exit numbers; there may be a more convenient route for you.  There could be misprints or landmark changes.  Check a map for unfamiliar locations.  Dog walking is banned or controlled in many areas.  Please check with the walk leader before you bring your dog. Bring lunch, a basket, a knife, and wax paper or paper bags for collecting. Take precautions against ticks and Lyme disease: wear white clothes, a hat, long sleeves, and pants tucked into boots.  Use DEET or other effective insect repellent. Permethrin treated clothing is also recommended. Permethrin can be purchased as an aerosol spray or already treated into clothing.  See the article on Tick prevention on the BMC website. Check the weather and dress appropriately.  Walks will be held in the rain in most cases.  If you bring children to the walks, please supervise their collecting. Site directions are usually left at the meeting place for latecomers.  It is possible to get lost at some sites, bring a whistle just in case.  Study the site map, walk with others, and pay attention to your surroundings.  Wearing hunter orange can keep you visible to the other foragers. Neither the BMC nor the walk host can assume responsibility for loss, injury, or damage to persons or property.

Identification: Try identifying the collected mushrooms yourself; you’ll learn much more that way.  Discuss ID in the group you are walking with.  The ID Committee can confirm your identification.  You may bring specimens to walks for identification if you distinguish them from fungi collected at the walk.

Foray Guidelines 

  1. Don’t spoil the walk by coming early! Please do not forage for mushrooms in the area designated for a foray within one week of the walk date. This is common courtesy to members attending the walk.
  2.  For identification purposes, it is not necessary to harvest more than 1 or 2 samples of each variety of fungi. If the fungus is decomposed, buggy, or dried, leave it in place. It won’t be easy to ID.
  3. Edible mushrooms: please do not harvest all the mushrooms in a particular area. Mushrooms are the fruiting body, leaving some in place ensures future mushrooms.  Leave behind the older or decaying specimens.
  4. When in doubt, throw it out! Never eat a mushroom unless you are 100% positive of its identity.  Beware of lookalikes!  
  5. A general rule for woody or inedible tree mushrooms, leave anything larger than the palm of your hand alone.
  6. When harvesting, collect the entire fungus including the base of the stem. The stem of certain fungi go fairly deep. Getting the entire fungus is critical for accurate identification. Include (dig up) any sac or bulb that may be at or below the soil surface.
  7. Take notes on the environment including trees, plants, other fungi, soil, forest or land characteristics, and any other unusual aspects of the location. A camera can be useful here.  For example, if you don’t know what tree a fungus is growing on or near, take careful photos of leaves and bark. Write it all down and keep your notes with your finds!  
  8. Do not damage the environment. Avoid picking or knocking over mushrooms you don’t intend to keep. Fill any holes in the dirt or duff so the underlying mycelium does not dry out or become damaged. If you roll a log to see what’s growing on the underside be sure to roll it back into its original position when you are done. A good mushroom hunter leaves few traces behind.
  9. After the foray, check yourself, or have your partner check you for ticks (which can be really tiny!) and remove them carefully. Wear light-colored clothing and tuck pants into socks. Insect repellent is helpful as are treated clothes.
  10. Become familiar with local hunting seasons and wear hunter orange clothing in the woods while foraging! BMC usually forays on Sundays, and hunting is not allowed on Sunday in Massachusetts.
  11. Be aware of the ownership of the land you forage on, and what the rules are for that land.

Cancellation Due to Drought: During drought conditions, check the Club website (bostonmycologicalclub.org) for cancellations. The cancellation procedure is as follows:

  1. By 10:00 AM the day before the walk, the walk host, in consultation with the President, will make the decision to cancel a walk if collecting looks fruitless. The President has the option of notifying ID committee members scheduled for that walk and will post the cancellation on the Club website. By 12:00 noon the day before the walk, the information should be posted on the BMC website. If no notice appears, the walk is “on.”
  2. For people who show up for the walk, the leader will be at the scheduled meeting place for a limited time to tell them that the walk has been canceled.
  3. No mushroom ID will take place at the walk site of a cancelled walk.

Walk Rules

* Leashed, well behaved dogs are okay. So are well behaved children, leashed or unleashed.
* BMC walks are MEMBERS ONLY. Please do not put announcements on social media! If your friends are jealous, tell them to join the club.
* Once you get a walk announcement, you don’t have to do anything but show up. You do not have to make a reservation or contact the leader.
* Walks generally last 2-3 hours. We meet at the start time and start point, when the leader will tell you whatever you need to know for that site, including the meeting time back at the ID table. People will put their specimens on the table, and an expert will lead you through them at the end. If you’re a beginner, try to walk with a more experienced mushroomer; that’s when you’ll really learn.
* Be polite! Obey the rules of the walk site and remember that we’re looking for interesting specimens; not pot-hunting. We try to leave the site in as good condition as we found it (minus some fungi), which is why all these parks and conservation areas invite us back again and again.
* Bring: bug spray, water, a snack/lunch, a basket or other container, a mushroom knife and paper or wax paper bags (egg cartons are good for small specimens). Dress appropriately for the weather and woods, and
remember that TICKS are a constant menace; permethrin-treated clothing is worth the price (especially socks and pants; the latter tucked into the former).
* The BMC doesn’t provide transportation and, as the club gets larger, parking in many of these sites is inadequate.. For those of you without a car and those of you with empty seats in your car, PLEASE join the club’s
google group (instructions on your welcome letter), and post if you need a ride or can provide one (and where). The more people who use the group for this purpose, the more effective it will be. Even if you have a car, car-pooling is better in so many ways!

F.A.Q.s

Q: Do I need to register for a walk?
A: No, just show up.

Q: What happens if it rains?
A: We still walk! Postponing walks is not an option in many cases, since our permits are for a specific day, so if the weather is not dangerous and the rain is not too heavy, we wear appropriate gear and go. Hail, heavy
winds, and lightning are dangerous. Check the website or contact the walk leader for cancellations.

Q: Can I tweet, Facebook, etc. about the Walk?
A: Only after it’s over. Please don’t announce walks to non-members.

We work on the honor system, assuming all walk participants are members, who have signed the legal waiver. And our members are numerous enough to stretch the limits of many walk sites. The walk leader is not there to police participants.